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EESOLUTIONS AND ADDHESS 

OF THE 

■\7^ Jk. X5L S3 COUKFTY" 

WOMING-MEFS ASSOCIATION. 



nESOLUTIOKTS : 

At a meeting held in the Court House, on the J bers are left perfectly free as heretofore to vote with 



10th of October, 1859, the following Resolutions 
were offered and adopted : 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of the Mechanics 
and Working-Men here assembled, that the Revenue 
Laws of this State are not framed in accordance with 
tne principles of justice and equality ; that said laws 
discriminate against, and operate most heavily upon 
those who are least able to bear the burthens of the 



such parties as they may choose, and for the men 
of their choice. 

Resolved, That we invite the cordial co-operation 
in this movement of our fellow Mechanics, and 
Working- Men of the State, and that we will take 
pleasure in corresponding and acting with them in 
carrying out the objects of this Association : and 
with this view we respectfully suggest to them the 



Ci„ fo . „„ a „i.:i„*. „ i t& -u- e -i.\. ) importance of forming Associations of a similar 

fctate; anu whilst we are re lay n-:a willing, as faith- J ^ . . e 



ful and loyal citizens, to meet and defray, at all j 
times, our due proportion of the public charge and \ 
expenditure, we nevertheless have a right to insist, \ 
and we do respectfully insist, that these laws shall \ 
he so altered as to tax every citizen according to 
what he is worth. I 



character in their respective localities. 

Resolved, That all tne newspapers in this City and 
State friendly to the interests and prosperity of the 
Working-Men of North-Carolina are requested to 
copy these Resolutions and the Proceedings of this 
Meeting. 

At a subsequent meeting the President, Jno. R. 



Resolved, That we reject any and every doctrine j 

which favors class legislation, and that we ask noth- > Harrison, Esq., appointed Quent. Busbee, B. F. Ben- 

ing for ourselves which we would not be disposed | ton> H . Gorman, D. A. Wicker, F. I. Wilson, J. N. 

to grant to others, if our relative c irc um stances were I ^, , ■ w t» t> • j m t» m l 1ir T x 

, , s Bunting. W. B. Reid, 1. R. ientress, W. J. Lougoe, 

changed. I ■■ 

r, , , __ ■ ., , ,, , ) and H. Raby, a Committee to Report an Address to 

Resolved, That it becomes the Mechanics and I 

Working-Men of North-Carolina, while respecting the citi * ens of tke State " 

the rights, and interests of others, to look also to > Tho Committee reported the Address which fol- 

their own rights and interests, and to insist upon > lows,. at an adjourned meeting held in the Court 

that political equality and that participation in publie j House on. the 6th December, 1859, and which was 



affairs to which they are entitled as freemen. 

Resolved, That a Committee of Tea be appointed 5 
to prepare and publish an Address to the people of 
the State setting forth more fully the objects oi the 
Association ; and lest by poss\bilit\ T our objects and 
motives should be misconceived or misconstrued, 
we emphatically announce that this Association has 
no connection with party politics, and that its mem- 



unanimously adopted : Waeyeupon, it was 

Ordered, That 5,000 copies of the same be print- 
ed for the use of the members of the Association ; 
and, that the newspapers in the State be requested 
to publish the same. 

JNO. R. HARRISON, President 

S, M. Pakish, Secretary. 



ICC 



t^niwa 



our fellow-citizen* of Nor 'th- Carolina: I enough to declare a few things, which none of us 

The Wake County Association of Working ever desired, or intended should result from the 
Men, having embodied the objects of their organi- > union we have, for honest purposes, entered into. — ■ 
zation in an address, submit the same with bc-com- j And in ordinary charity we ask you to defer any 
ing deference to the serious attention of their fellow- ) judgment of condemnation as to our intentions, un- 
citizens throughout the State. A free interchange \ til at least, more convincing evidence is given you, 
of thoughts and opinions, especially upon subjects ) than the fears of a few, whose prophetic visions 
of general concernment, is one of those inalienable ; discover dangers that never exist, and whose absence, 
rights secured to every free people, and invaluable > when real dangers and difficulties present themselves, 
to every elector in a popular government like our ; is never satisfactorily/ accounted for. 
own, who desires to perform conscientiously the I It is, ihen, not oar object to start any new politi- 
duties devolving on each citizen. To deny this — ) cal party or organization, either upon this or any 
"to deny freedom of opinion, and conformity of j other platform ; or to raise any issues as tests in the 
conduct to convictions honestly entertained," in the > selection of our representatives, or public officers, 
language of an eminent son of our State, "is tyrraiaj j The political parties now existing amongst us, we 
in its most odious form." In the honest exercise j believe to be enough and sufficieut for the ends 
then of this privilege, secured to us, and every one, ) sought to be accomplished by their several organi- 
by the constitution under which we live, we have ; zations, and it is not our desire or intention to dis- 
thought proper to address 3 r ou on a subject, in our > turb them in any respect. If we can, however, 
opinion of great and lasting moment to us all, beg- ) succeed in impressing the mind of all parties with 
ging you at the same time, to investigate it with ^ the fact that other subjects besides federal politics, 
that calmness and serious deliberation its importance ) local to us, are of great and lasting importance, and 
essentially demands. \ as such should claim at least a portion of the time 

Being ourselves satisfactorily convinced that a and thoughts of those whom the people look up to 
thorough and radical reform in the revenue system ) for guidance, and which should be thorough^ in- 
of the State is loudly and urgently called for at this \ vestigated and dispassionately considered, we shall, 
particular time, as well by the individual interest of > we think, have doiwmudh for the public interest, 
every tax-payer, as by that future progress and ; It is not our object, emphatically not, while ad- 
prosperity we hope to see our State make and en- ' vocating a just equalization of taxation so far as the 
joy, we have voluntarily associated ourselves togeth- ; same can be effected, to array one portion of our fel- 
er, in the expectation of being able to accomplish low citizens against another portion — one class 
more to advance that reform, by united effort, than > against another class — or, one section against anoth- 
we could possibty hope to do by any individual ex- ; er section. The most careless observer of what has 
ertion. And if by fair arguments, b} r discussion \ passed into history, and of the events now passing 
and by the publication of such facts and figures as ) in other communities — the merest beginner in the 
are within our reach, the whole subject of our reve- \ study of political economy, knows full well, or 
nue system should be laid before the honest people > ought to know, that the antagonism between labor 
of North-Carolina in its proper lights, and all its j and capital existing elsewhere, can never affect the 
important bearings, we shall be contented with the ? social condition to any extent, of an agricultural 
result of our efforts, and amply repaid by the bene- ) community like our own ■ especially wb*n that 
fits rendered to the community at large, for any j community has engrafted upon itself the conserva- 
time or labor we may have given in so doing. Hon- Ktive element of domestic slaver}'. With only 17 
estly and fairly canvassed, as we trust the subject > persons, in 1850, to the square mile, — no large 
will be, we cheerfully abide the decision of every ( cities — with a small amount of capital, and that 
conservative voter within our limits, who will give ) generally diffused, the most industrious and un- 
the matter a moment's unprejudiced consideration, scrupulous demagogue can never, with us, succeed 
For we sincerely believe that the attention of those > in bringing about any estrangement between the 
directly interested, being once directed to the great ) rich and the poor. 

importance of a change in our revenue system — a I It is not our object to depreciate by an}^thing we 
change having as its basis the principles of fairness, ) do, the value of any particular kind of property ; 
justice and equality to every one, our people will \ nor do we desire any discrimination to be made for 
never permit the agitation of the question to rest > or against any species of property. On the con- 
until the end sought for is attained. \ trary, the cardinal point of our belief is, that an 

To prevent the misrepresentation that this move- I unjust and oppressive discrimination now exists in 
ment of ours may give rise to, and to correct in the ) the principles of our tax system, and for its remov- 
beginning the erroneous opinions entertained, and \ al we address you. We hold that property of eve- 
the groundless fears indulged in by some as to the ? ry dc-gcription, receiving equal protection from our 
ultimate objects ef ©ur association, it may fee well ) government, should contribute, with, the persons 



#!•## 



ADDRESS OF THE WAKE COUNTY WORKING-MEN S ASSOCIATION. 



terest, to pay a larger amount of taxes into the 
Treasury than §248,567,800 worth of slave property. 
Is there any cause why §1,000 in mone} T at interest, 
restricted ly our laic in its productiveness to $60 
per annum, should be made to pay $2,40 for the 
protection it enjoys, while $1,000 in slave property, 
unrestricted in its production, paid 50 cents, and 
$1,000 in land paid $1,50? Under our Bill of 
Rights, no man or set of men are entitled to exclu- 
sive or separate emoluments or privileges from their 
neighbors, except for good and just reasons. Why 
cannot this just, fundamental principle be extended 
in its application likewise to property, another im- 
portant element constituting a State ? 

Again : The profits of capital invested in steam 
vessels, in stocks of any kind, in shares of any in- 
corporated or trading company, whether in or out 
of the State, bonds of another State, and bank divi- 
dends, paid, in 1858, $11,643. This tax was col- 
lected on about $290,000 of profits. In 1850, ac- 
cording to the last Census, there was in North-Car- 
olina more than $9,000,000 of annual production, aris- 
ing from manufactures, mining and mechanic arts, 
at a profit of Si per cent., or over $3,000,000. We 
have no data from which to estimate the increase of 
this annual production since that time, though we 
know it has been considerable. Why our legisla- 
tors excepted this very considerable amount of pro- 
fit from paying taxes we cannot tell. If the profits 
on the annual production of capital invested in va- 
rious ways is to be taxed, and it surely ougfat, why 
not tax those of all productive investments? 

Again : Under our peculiar system, and it is, 
without precedent, peculiar in many respects, there 
was paid into the State Treasury the sum of $12,379 
by a portion of the labor and industry of our citi- 
zens. This tax on the energy, enterprise and brains 
of the community, which should receive in its de- 
velopment the fostering care and protection of our 
law-makers so far as possible, amounts to about one- 
sixth of the sum paid, as we have shown, by $248,- 
567,800 worth of one species of property. We are 
satisfied that this distinctive feature in our revenue 
S) r stem is so unjustly oppressive, so utterly subver- 
sive of every reasonable and established principle 
of political economy, and so openly at war with the 
best interests of our State, that it requires no ill us 
tration in detail to convince you that a reform at 
least in this respect is imperatively demanded. Still, 
that you may more forcibly comprehend its unjust- 
ness and inequality, let us for a moment look to its 
operation. Every citizen except ministers of the 
Gospel and our Judges, (and why exempt the latter, 
when all other State officers are taxed?) whose an- 
nual income from their labor is over $500, paid, as a 
tax, 1 per cent, on their respective receipts. The 
clerk, the doctor, the mechanic, the lawyer, the 
overseer, your county officers, every one, though by 
untiring industry and stinting economy they may 
be barely able to support their families, paid into 
the Treasury of the State $1 upon every $100 re- 
ceived. The foreman in the workshop, if in the re- 
ceipt of $500 as wages, paid, besides his poll tax, 
$5 to the sheriff; while his neighbor, owning ten 
slave mechanics at work in the same shop at the 



yearly wages of $2,500 or more, paid to the Sheriff 
only $5 and his poll tax. The overseer, with 20 
hands under him, making for his employer 100 bags 
of cotton, worth $5,000, if receiving $600, paid $6, 
and the employer, for that which produced him 
$5,000 paid $10. The employees of our different 
Railroad Companies each pay 1 per cent, on their 
receipts, if they amount to $500 ; the individual 
stockholders, though they may receive 6 or 7 per 
cent, on their investment, amounting in the aggre- 
gate to a large sum, pay, with few exceptions, noth- 
ing. The clerk, in the receipt of $700 per aunum, 
paid $7 to the State; his employer, with $100,000 
of State bonds in his safe, yielding him $6,000 per 
annum, paid nothing. These illustrations might be 
indefinitely multiplied. In 1834, our Executive, in 
his message to the General Assembly, reviewing our 
revenue system, remarks thus upon the inequality 
then existing: — "The poll tax on the day laborer 
and the capitalist is precisely the same ; and it some- 
times happens that the latter, like the former, is 
subject to no other species of contribution. In the 
one case it is an onerous imposition ; in the other, a 
tax a thousand fold greater might occasion no sensi- 
ble inconvenience." If in 1834 a reason existed for 
complaining against the inequality of the system, 
how much more have we to complain of now, when 
the poll tax, though much increased, is but a drop 
in the bucket, compared to that assessed on our 
labor. 

Again : The amount paid by merchants and others 
engaged in selling goods, wares and merchandize, 
was $37,881. This sum was levied on $11,365,000 
of purchases ; it making no difference under our 
system whether the same was ever sold, or ever re- 
turned to the purchasing dealer any profit or not. 
This amount is more than half of that paid by 
$248,567,800 worth of slaves, and nearly half as 
much as was paid by $31,989,000 of money at inter- 
est. This $37,881 is paid, not bj r the merchants 
themselves, but, as every one knows, by the con- 
sumers — a large portion of whom are those very 
men who pay 1 per cent, of their wages into the 
State Treasury. Of this merchants' tax, dealers in 
ready-made clothing paid 1 per cent, on their pur- 
chases — $10 for every $1,000 worth of goods bought. 
Further, $409,000 (in round numbers) employed 
in the purchase — (not sale) of liquors, paid $20,448 
tax, or 5 per cent, on the amount bought. Further 
still, $384,000 employed in bujnng and selling 
slaves, paid $1,279; and $893,000 employed in 
other trade, paid $1,786. Upon what principle of 
adjustment these various rates were agreed to we 
are unable to ascertain. If some were intended to 
operate in the nature of sumptuary laws, we are of 
the humble opinion that our legislators did not give 
that time and attention to the consideration of the 
subject, demanded by its importance and its ulti- 
mate effects. 

Again: $1,952,400 worth of carriages, buggies 
and other vehicles, most of which are as necessary 
at this day to the comfort and convenience of our 
citizens, especially those out of our own towns, as 
their sugar and coffee are, paid $19,524, or 1 per 
cent, on their assessed value, and a greater sum than 



ADDRESS OF THE WAKE COUNTY WORKING-MEN S ASSOCIATION. 



was paid on $11,766,710 of town property. Fur- 
ther, 2,150 pianos, certainly as much an article of 
luxury as the buggy of the farmer which conveys 
his wife to church, paid $3,225, or f of 1 per cent. 
on the cost, estimating that cost at $200 each. 

These palpable and unreasonable inconsistencies 
and unjust discriminations might be multiplied, un- 
til every source from which our revenue is derived 
would, in the illustration, be exhausted. The lim- 
its of this address and your patience forbid any fur- 
ther details. To more fully substantiate the just- 
ness of our complaint, we will repeat the rates as 
above exemplified. Under the tax bill of 1856-7 — 
$1,000 worth of land paid $150 

1,0110 " slaves " 50 

1,000 in money loaned paid 2 40 

1,000 of dividend and profit paid 2 40 

1,000 in labor and industry " 10 00 

1,000 " goods purchased " 3 33 

1,000 " clothing " " 10 00 

1,000 " liquors " " 55 00 

1,000 of capital in buying slaves, paid 3 33 

1,000 " other trade, " 2 00 

1,000 worth of buggies, carriages, &c, paid 10 00 
1,000 " pianos paid 7 50 

Such are some of the inequalities of our existing 
revenue system. We ask you, can it be defended ? 
Can any consideration, except self-interest, urge a 
solitary argument in favor of its continuance? To 
every tax payer in the State we address ourselves, 
and appeal to them for an answer after mature de- 
liberation. It is the system that we war against, 
and for the reform of which we ask your earnest co- 
operation. Commencing in 1784, it has continued 
to the present time essentially the same, with but 
few of its defects remedied. In 1835. its distinctive 
feature was, without reason, and without its being 
demanded by public sentiment, incorporated in our 
Constitution. Other Acts of the General Assembly 
can, at every session, " be touched by the plastic 
hand of reformation," whilst our ''acts to increase 
the revenue of the State," must remain unchanged 
in principle — cannot be perfected either by the ex- 
perience of our statesmen, or altered to suit the exi- 
gencies of the Treasury. Can it be for a moment 
supposed that time has disclosed no defects in our 
financial system ? Is it believed that an experience 
of seventy years has added nothing to our wisdom 
in this respect, in relation to one of the most neces- 
sary and important functions of government? The 
system might have been admirably suited to the 
times, and for the limited purposes, for which it was 
adopted ; yet no one could foresee the immense 
changes that were to take place, and have taken 
place, since its adoption. Common sense will tell 
us that a system for the collection of $50,000 of rev- 
enue in 1784, will not answer for raising $650,000 
in 1859 ; and it is worse than folly to think its fra- 
mers ever intended it should. 

Mr. Brogden's last Report discloses another fact 
well worth} 7 of the serious consideration and atten- 
tion of every land and slave owner in the State. It 
is, that the amount of revenue raised for County 
purposes, assessed exclusively upon land and polls, 



exceeded the sum paid to the State, from all sozirces, 
by the Sheriffs. Tn 1858, the County taxes amoun- 
ted to $523,417. The State taxes, collected by the 
Sheriffs, amounted to $502,612. Are land and polls 
the only property and subjects directly interested in 
a proper administration of County affairs ? If any 
other species ot property receives the protection of 
our County police, and is benefitted by our County 
regulations, it ought, in our opinion, to contribute 
its proper proportion to the support necessary to 
keep up that police. 

We think the foregoing statements, limited as 
they necessarily are, clearly demonstrate that the 
principles upon which is based our existing revenue 
system, are not such as the progress of events and 
the spirit of our people demand. The times we live 
in, and the circumstances surrounding us, demand 
a change. Is a change practicable ? If we had not 
the experience of sister States, similar to our own in 
every respect, in the affirmative, we should be loath 
to believe that the wisdom and talent of our public 
officers and legislators could not so reach the $500,- 
000,000 of property within our borders, all of which 
we think to be legitimate subjects of taxation, as to 
assess on each dollar thereof its proper contribution 
for the support of the government. One-sixth of 
one per cent, of that amount would raise $833,333 
per annum — a sum amply sufficient for the admin- 
istration of the government for years to come, unless 
unforeseen contingencies should arise. The com- 
plexion of our federal relations at this time is of such 
a character as to seriously admonish us that those 
contingencies may at any time arise. Within the 
next eighteen months it may become necessary to 
increase the revenue a hundred fold and more, to 
support our beloved State as a free, and sovereign, 
and independent nation. Equalize the burden 
among those who have it to bear by just and equal 
laws, and whatever amount may be necessar}' to 
preserve the good credit of North-Carolina in any 
and every emergency, will be willingly given by our 
people. Many of the fathers of our State sacrificed 
their all in the days of '76. We believe their de- 
scendants, actuated by the same patriotic spirit, 
would be equally ready to pledge " their lives, their 
fortunes and their most sacred honor" to preserve 
the inestimable rights handed down to them. 

We have thus in an imperfect manner endeavored 
to lay honestly before you the reasons that induced 
us to for n this Association, and the objects we have 
for so doing. To the sober judgment of the people 
of our State we appeal, and willingly rest the recti- 
tude of our motives with the decision of that peo- 
ple. To the same tribunal we also as willingly 
leave the fears and insinuations of those who aftect to 
believe this movement of ours to be fraught with 
danger and calamity ; and whose zeal and interest 
for the prosperity of the masses have heretofore 
been universally measured by the success or failure 
of their own petty plans of self-aggrandizement. — 
Time will eventually and surely disclose the selfish 
motives governing their actions; and to the virtuous 
indignation which such disclosure will as surely 
consign them, we are content to leave them. 



ADDRESS OF THE 'WAKE COUNTY WORKING-MEN S ASSOCIATION. 



*J 



protected, its equal proportion in the support of 
that government. That, as dollars and cents meas- 
ure the value of every species of property, any 
privilege or exemption bestowed upon the same 
a mount of dollars and cents in one kind, and not 
upon the others, is unju ;t, and granting immuni- 
ties at war with one of those fundamental princi- 
ples upon which is based our whole organic law. 

It is not our object to repudiate any of the obli- 
gations heretofore entered into by the State, or here- 
after to be contracted; nor do we in any manner 
desire to be exempted from the payment of our 
proper share of the public revenue, necessary to 
preserve sacredly the public faith and credit. If 
the exigencies of the treasury require us to pay the 
sums we now pay — aye, should it become necessary 
to increase the amount in a ratio greater than it has 
been increased since the year 1847, we will pay the 
same cheerfully, and gladly, if we can but be satis- 
fied that we are only paying our proper proportion, 
and that all other citizens of the State are required 
to do the same. 

It is not our object to call in question the inten- 
tions of those who first gave to North-Carolina her 
present revenue system ; nor to arraign before the 
public those who, adhering to the unjust principles 
upon which that system is founded, without mate- 
rial modifications in the several tax bills heretofore 
passed, have inconsiderately, we are willing to al- 
ldw, grievously oppressed a large class of their fel- 
low-citizens. The former, we shall ever venerate 
for their patriotism, their many sacrifices, and their 
unselfish devotion to their country's good. Xor is 
our respect for their wisdom lessened in the small- 
est degree by our desire to reform a financial poli- 
cy, which, to say the fathers of our State intended 
to be for all time, and the same under all circum- 
stances, would detract much from that foresight and 
wisdom we have been taught to believe peculiarly 
characterized their acts of legislation. The deter- 
mination of our legislators in the recent sessions of 
the General Assembly, to pres2rve the faith and 
credit of the State under all circumstances and at 
all hazards, we cannot too much admire ; however 
widely we may differ as to the sources and the 
manner from and in which the necessary revenue 
for that object can be best and most easily raised. 

It is not our object to advance any one man, or 
set of men ; nor will our appreciation of the patri- 
otism and integrity of any man be affected or dis- 
turbed, should he honestly entertain opinions con- 
trary to our own. We do not wish to see this re- 
form in the financial policy of the State, — absolute!}' 
necessary we believe to the State's prosperity and 
advancement — mixed up in any way with party poli- 
tics or discussed with the excitement and feeling 
that partizan measures usually are. 

Our sole aim is, and our constant effort shall be, 
until the end is accomplished — disconnected with all 
other considerations — a Reform in the Revenue 
System of our State. The details of this reform 
we leave to those whose wisdom and experience 
will no doubt give satisfaction to all, as soon as the 
people, in their sovereignty shall determine that a 
reform sua-i-l be wade. And in this dibit, w-y beg 



the honest co-operation of every one, we care noi 
to what party or section he belongs, who entertains 
in regard to the necessity of the change, the same 
views with onrselves. We ask the advocates of the 
existing system to think seriously of its principles, 
to discuss its merits, and above all, to treat it in 
their investigations as a subject of paramount im- 
portance. And in the general discussion of the 
merits of this subject, which we hope will be had 
among our people, if that which we believe to be 
practicable, and just, and urgently called for by our 
present state of affairs, should be shown to us to be 
either impracticable, or unjust, or insufficient, andoth- 
er remedies for existing evils are offered the better to 
attain what we so earnestly desire, we cheerfully 
promise to adopt the suggestions proposed for that 
end. We are not so wedded to any particular poli- 
cy in reforming our present system as to hazard the 
reform itself by adhering pertinaciously to any one 
measure or plan, however much we may be con- 
vinced at this time of the justness of our own views 
in relation thereto. 

A histor}' of our revenue system, bare as it is in 
its details of interest, until the year 1847, conclu- 
sively to our minds proves this f ict. That the aggre- 
gate amount of taxes collected each year, and which 
were amply sufficient for the administration of our 
government, was so small that but little interest 
was felt in the subject of taxation by those whohad 
the taxes to pay, and but little attention bestowed 
by our legislators as to the source from which the 
revenue necessary to defray the expenses of the 
government was to be raised. The rates on the 
§100 worth of land, to wit : 6 cents, and 20 cents 
on the poll, remained unaltered for oyer thirty years, 
and was not increased until the )'ear 1854. From 
the statements made by the Comptrollers, we see 
that in the year 1822 the aggregate revenue paid by 
the Sheriff's into the treasury was (omitting fractions) 
$(53,811; of which real estate paid $28,108; polls, 
§25,411; leaving §10,292 to be paid by all other 
taxable subjects. Wake paid into the treasury in 
1822, the sum of $2,293. In 1885, the year the 
old constitution of 1776 was amended in convention, 
and the restriction unknown to that first constitu- 
tion was placed upon the General Assembly in re- 
gard to poll tax, the aggregate of revenue paid by 
the Sheriffs into the treasury was §73,980; real 
estate paying §24,846; polls, §28,016; leaving 
§21,118 to be paid by other subjects. Wake in 
1835, paid §2,457. In 1847, from which time a 
new era may be said to have commenced in our fi- 
nancial history, controlled by a policy totally differ- 
ent from that governing our legislators previous 
thereto, there was paid into the treasury by the 
Sheriffs, und?r the tax bill of 1846, the sum of 
§93,026; real estate paying §37,921 ; polls, §34,623, 
leaving §20,482 to be paid by other subjects. In 
this year, Wake paid §3,056 into the treasury. — ■ 
Since 1847, under this new order of things, our leg- 
islators at every session have been driven to many 
expedients, and have spent no little time and discus- 
sion in adjusting the different tax bills to the in- 
creasing demands of the treasury. In 1858 the 
imftcuw* of revoHUti paid by bae Skmffc into the 



ADDRESS OF THE WAKE COUNTY WORKING-MEN S ASSOCIATION. 



treasury was §502,612 ; real estate paying $146,150; 
free polls §32,588 ; black polls §75,462 ; leaving 
§248,388 to be collected from other sources. In 
this year Wake paid §21,652. In 1859 the aggre- 
gate revenue paid b}' the Sheriffs under the tax bill 
of 1856 -'7 was §607,813. No details have as yet 
been published. In 185!) Wake pays §25,004. In 
the foregoing statement the tax paid on bank stock, 
and those derived from a few other sources amount- 
ing to little, have not been included. From the 
foregoing figures it is seen that from 1822 to 1847, 
a period of 25 years, there was but little increase 
in the aggregate amount of revenue paid to the 
Staje ; and that increase is accounted for by the 
natural increase in the number of taxable polls, and 
chiefly from the increased value of lands under the 
various assessments made after the year 1836. 

In the few material changes that have been intro- 
duced in our revenue system since the year 1784, it 
is a fact worthy of notice, that all such alterations 
have been made so far as possible to conform to an 
ad valorem principle. And we have been unable to 
find any evidence that the restriction incorporated 
in the amended Constitution of 1835, so materially 
altering that of 1776. (which has been styled by 
some as " incomparably excellent" and in this par- 
ticular at least, we think justly so,) elicited any dis- 
cussion or comment prior to its passage. This cir- 
cumstance, and the passage of this restriction on the 
General Assembly in regard to capitation tax, through 
the Convention of 1835, in silence, precludes any 
idea of its being considered a matter of even second- 
ary importance, or of its having been one of those 
changes in our organic law demanded by the people 
at that particular time ; even if the small amounts 
of revenue annually collected as above shown did 
not satisfactorily do so. And, further, if that par- 
ticular species of property owned by our citizens, 
needed, in 1835, or before, the peculiar protection 
given it, it is unaccountably strange that the amen- 
ded Constitution should have been voted against by 
every County in the State largely interested in slave 
property. The truth is, the Convention of 1835 
met for other purposes; and those purposes had al- 
most incessantly occupied public attention for years 
before the Convention assembled. And when the 
Convention did assemble, the changes in our organic 
law, which had b^en fully canvassed before the peo- 
ple, weie again patiently investigated and elaborate- 
ly discussed by delegates remarkably distinguished 
for ability, integrity and learning. Yet, with all 
their learning and experience, it was beyond their 
ken to foresee the many and great changes that were 
to take place within the twenty 3'ears immediately 
to follow. If any one had announced to that body 
that the public debt of North-Carolina in 1858, in- 
curred in developing a part of the State's wealth, 
and in enabling us to keep pace with the progress 
of those around us, would be over seven millions of 
dollars, and that in 1859, §650,000 would be requir- 
ed to uphold the credit of the State— to men of those 
days, and to us we hope, "incomparably" dear, — the 
speaker would have been considered by every one, 
in and out of that body, as crazy beyond redemption. 
Such announcement would have been true, however ; 



and the debt must still increase, if the plighted faith 
of the State is to be reverenced as it ever should be, 
and as it always has heretofore been. 

The taxes of Wake County have increased over 
1,000 per cent, since 1835, and over 700 per cent, 
since 1847. The amounts paid in 1847 were literal- 
ly nominal, and but little concern was given to the 
sources from which they were required. Since that 
time the amounts paid have become an object to 
each and every citizen of the county, attracting, )'ear 
after year, our serious attention and earnest solici- 
tude. 

The last tax bill has fully convinced us of the 
great and increasing importance of this subject, and 
the urgent necessity of so reforming the system that 
the burden should be equally borne. Of its import- 
ance we are satisfied that you are also convince! 
For the oppressive inequality and unjustness of the 
S3 r stem we invite your attention to the following il- 
lustrations from the last published report from the 
Comptroller of public accounts. 

By reference to Mr. Brogden's report to the last 
General Assembly, it will be seen that the aggregate 
valuation of 26,133,063 acres of land, listed under 
the revenue bill of 1856-7 for taxation, was §86,- 
075,771 — or about §3 29 per acre. This, added to 
the valuation of town property, gives a total of 
$97,842,481, which paid into the State Treasury, as 
taxes thereon, the sum of $146,150, (omitting frac- 
tions.) The aggregate of taxes paid by the polls 
listed at the same time was $108,074, of which black 
polls paid $75,462, and free polls §32,588. The 
number of black polls given in was 150,925 — a num- 
ber, by the way, greatly below that returned in the 
Census of 1850 ; according to which, there were in 
the State, in June, 1850, about 164,000 taxable black 
polls. The black polls returned in 1858, at a low 
valuation, were worth, in round nnmbers, §136,000,- 
000. And if our slave population has increased in 
the same ratio since 1850 that it did during the ten 
years previous thereto, (and there is every reason to 
believe the increase, from many causes, has been 
much greater,) the total number of slaves in the 
State at this time would be 338,548. This would 
leave 187,613 slaves untaxed, worth, at a low esti- 
mate, $112,567,800, making the aggregate valuation 
of the slave property in the State $-248,O67;8O0. This 
amount of property paid into the State Treasury in 
1858, for the protection it enjoys, which, in our 
opinion, in its duplicate capacity of property and 
persons, far exceeds that thrown around any other 
species of property by our laws, the sum of $75,462, 
a little more than half the amount paid by §97,- 
842,481 worth of real estate. Is there any reason 
why such a discrimination should be made between 
these two species of property ? Why is it that §1,000 
worth of land should pay, as it did under the tax 
bill of 1856-7, $1 50, while §1,000 worth of slave 
property paid only 50 cents V In our opinion there 
is no just and good reason for such inequality ; if 
there is, we have yet to hear it advanced. 

Again: The tax on interest received, amounted to 
$76,774. This sum is paid on about $31,989,000 of 
money loaned. Thus it is seen that our system re- 
quires $31,989,000 loaned, or otherwise bearing in- 







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